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Knowing Our

October 7 or
October 8

September 17-23

Leadership in the Collapsing Society

Excerpted from pages 22 to 25 of the pamphlet The Enjoyment of Leadership, by Harvey Jackins

There is nothing holding the present oppressive society in place except misinformation, the existence of distress patterns on individuals within the society, and the distress patterns’ inertia within the society. There is nothing standing in the way of complete transformation of the society except distress patterns that can be challenged and discharged. The leader must communicate this, not only about the limited situation of the group but about the society as a whole, or the group’s momentum for action will, at some time, tend to be lost. The group members will not usually have this perspective to begin with, and the leader is the one who must furnish it. Offered this perspective, people will tend to learn quickly through their own experience of discharge and change, and through observing the changes discharge makes in others.

As each group moves on to the path of its liberation (and each group will of necessity move into liberation activities, because otherwise the collapsing society will make its members’ lives unbearable), the nature of the oppressive society and its oppressions must be looked at and faced. To be a good leader of even a small association in a small village one will need, for best functioning, to have some knowledge that our current societies are based on economic oppression. The leader needs to know and be able to explain that the sole goal of the society itself is the economic exploitation of the people who work by the people who own. He or she needs to understand that all the other oppressions in their many vicious forms, the oppressions of sexism, of adultism toward children, of racism, and so on (including the oppression of the members of the group) are all divisions and diversions that were invented originally and are maintained in order to divide the economically oppressed and exploited from each other. All other oppressions exist to divide the members of the working classes and pit them against each other so that they cannot resist and undo the system of economic exploitation.

The liberation of people from the oppressive society will come about through the initiative, building, growth, and mutual cooperation of and between many, many, many individual liberation movements. The best activity for general liberation will be a logical consequence of the activities of the individual liberation movements. . . .

It will be important for a leader to iterate and reiterate one reality that we have been conditioned to deny and that so much of our experience in the oppressive society seems to contradict. This is that there is no inherent conflict of interest between any individual human beings nor, rationally, between any groups of people or nations of people. All rational human goals are far better served by cooperation between people than by conflict. A leader will need to explain and re-explain that the omnipresent current conflicts are artificially engendered automatically by the operation, contagion, and rehearsal of distress patterns and also by the oppressive society. This society functions at all only on the basis of conditioning individuals to continual competition and conflict, requiring groups to battle each other for fragmentary or illusory rewards, while the exploitation and robbery built into the society go on.

Harvey Jackins

(Present Time 190, January 2018)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00